So Long, Michigan

Jessica Wetzel
Majors: History & Anthropology
Cultural Connections in Senegal, Summer I 2017

As I wait for my flight from Miami to Dakar to begin boarding I’m reflecting on my journey so far. There are so many pieces that had to fall into place for this trip to be able to happen. If you asked me last year if I thought I would be going to Senegal this summer I would have said there is no way. However, like many of you who are reading this, I attended a study abroad meeting detailing a possible program. Unlike the others this one resonated with me and my interests. After Dr. Santiago came in and talked to my organization I walked away knowing I would do anything in my power to be on that trip. The two biggest reasons were the way Senegalese students treated their studies in the University and their way of life. Being an anthropology student, i was, and still am, eager to explore these aspects. Later, I learned that this program was put on by the College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services. This is not stopping me from exploring the topic that I really want to explore however.

The first flight to Miami and the trip in general is very bittersweet for me, which is something I will have to get used to. Since the time I moved in with my fiancé I haven’t been away from him for more than a night and I will miss him and my pets immensely. This is not going to stop me from enjoying my travels, but has been the hardest part for me so far.

So, on to the good part! This morning, I woke up around 3:30 so I could catch my 6A.M. flight from Detroit. I’m not a morning person, so this sucked and I’m glad I was able to sleep most of the way on the plane. Taking a red eye flight is worth it if you don’t mind your sleep interrupted, however it is hard to get comfortable on a plane. I’ve been sitting in the Miami airport since 9A.M and my second flight does not leave until 4 P.M. Needless to say, it’s been a long day and its only going to get longer. Hopefully, my last two flights go as well as the first one did.

Some advice that I have for those who want to study abroad right now would be to do it! I wish I would have had more than one chance to use this opportunity. Also, make sure to look outside your program of study if there is a country you want to visit, it may be able to work out. Lastly, APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS! You never know what you are going to get and it will help in the long run. Check back in a few days for my first impressions of the country as well as tips for navigating while you’re abroad that I’ve learned through my mistakes:)

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